Chapter 631: Friend or Foe (Part 1)
"It's none of my business." Lith replied.
Phloria's recovery was slow because she had suffered extensive damage and because of her fatigue, Quylla hadn't much life force to spare.
Phloria had several broken bones, punctured organs, and was bleeding out of her head, mouth, and nostrils.
She was deadly pale, gurgling more blood with each breath she took.
"I already risked my life to protect you guys from that thing at great personal cost.
I will not waste my mana on a stranger when the life of another of my friends is on the line."
He started to support Quylla's spell, stopping Phloria's internal bleeding before it was too late.
He could've fixed her in the blink of an eye, but with Quylla monitoring Phloria's condition he had to pretend to be a normal mage, incapable of recovering his full strength with just a few deep breaths.
"Great Mage Verhen! The duty of all the members of the army is to protect life without giving preferential treatments." The woman from the Black Griffon was seething with anger.
Her shoulder length grey hair was dancing in the air due to the mana exuding from her body and her eyes were reduced to two fiery slits.
Yet she was holding her left arm in pain.
The healing spell from her magic ring would take a while to heal her completely and until that happened, she was unable to cast spells.
Fake mages needed both arms and magic words to use magic.
"The Captain performed her duty honorably and with your actions, you are wasting her sacrifice.
You should…" Talking about Phloria as if she was already dead made Lith snap.
His right forefinger whipped as a scorpion's tail, releasing a small air bullet that struck the injured shoulder right where it would hurt the most.
With his innate skill for deathblows and extensive knowledge of the human body, Lith didn't even need to use Life Vision to find the right spot.
The bullet was weak, barely as strong as a push, yet enough to rattle the bone fragments inside the Professor's body like it was a flesh maraca.
It caused her a pain so intense that the woman fainted without emitting a sound.
"That's why I hate academics." Morok said while treating the Assistant from the Black Griffon.
Healing wasn't a specialization he had learned back when he was a student at the Crystal Griffon, but after becoming a Ranger, he had quickly understood how dangerous it was not being able to treat all kinds of wounds.
It had taken him some time, but the army had provided him with all he needed to become an excellent Healer.
"You think you are so much better than us because of your knowledge, yet when ** happens, you're as useful as a third nostril.
Just because we chose to wear a uniform, it doesn't make us expendable.
"Instead of running your mouths for whining, help yourselves.
Our lives aren't any less important than yours."
Quylla felt the sting of those words as well.
After leaving the academy, she had neglected physical training, thinking that always being either at her home or at the White Griffon made it unnecessary.
'What good is a Healer that gets exhausted after a long walk Lith has walked as much as I did, fought for his life, and yet he still has enough energy to help Phloria.
I'm no different from that old hag.
I'm too dependent on others in times of crisis.' She thought.
Once Phloria's condition was stabilized, Lith helped the others.
Every one of those present was able to use tier three healing magic and had plenty of potions, so only a handful of people were still injured.
When the Healers were done, the group in the tunnel looked like war survivors.
Their clothes were damaged, their bodies weakened from either performing or receiving the healing, making their breath ragged and irregular.
Except for Lith, who thanks to Invigoration was still at his peak condition.
"What kind of monster are you How the heck did you survive those black rays" Morok was proud of his stamina, yet after sharing his life force with the wounded, he wasn't faring any better than one of the old fossils.
He would gladly take a few hours long nap, if given the chance.
"Orichalcum." Lith replied.
"I recently Forgemastered a Skinwalker Armor out of it.
The results are way better than I expected."
"What That's impossible." Morok said, quickly followed by a few experts.
"I'm no Forgemaster, but when I commissioned one, I was told that the spell reacts erratically with metals, that's why Skinwalkers are always made out of clothes."
"Believe what you want.
The important thing now is getting out of here.
The Abomination might return and with the crystals surrounding us, we can't set a proper defensive perimeter nor use spells for self defense.
"Must I remind you that I've lost my weapon" Lith was eager to change the topic.
Back when he didn't find a metal Skinwalker on the army's catalog, nor on the Association's one, he had simply thought that just like many items of his interest, they were hidden to the public and reserved for the elites.
His objective had always been to copy and improve the best artifacts money could buy, so he had never stopped considering that there could be a different explanation.
"Opening the collapsed corridor is too dangerous.
We must Warp to the outside!" A panicked youth from the Lightning Griffon tried to cast the dimensional spell, but his master slapped him, interrupting his cast.
"Don't panic, you idiot! The Rangers could Blink because the dimensional rift it creates is weak and lasts for a split second.
If you open a dimensional corridor, we might all die!"
Even if the Warp Steps had never been completed, some of the crystals protruding from the walls started to tremble madly, resonating with the huge amount of released mana.
Everyone stopped what they were doing, even breathing.
After a few seconds, everything went back to normal.
"I agree with Ranger Verhen on the matter." Morok said out loud, for everyone to listen.
"I would like to rest too, but this position is a defensive nightmare.
Those who can walk will walk, the others should use a float spell and let themselves be dragged.
If any of you wants to back down, I've already alerted the mines' supervisor.
"Wait here and someone will open the passage in a few hours."
A lot of moans and groans could be heard.
Almost all the mages chose to float and it was up to the soldiers to bring them along like balloons filled with helium.
Morok took point, while Lith covered their back, walking alongside Phloria and Quylla.
"Thanks, Lith." They were both able to walk after he had given them a bit of his life force.
"I'm really sorry about your sword.
I know how much you loved it.
Do you have a replacement" Phloria asked.
"I have a lot of weapons with me, but they all suck.
All my attempts to craft a better Gatekeeper failed.
I guess I'd have to ask Orion for something better once we get out of here." He sighed.
"Did you really try to improve my father's work without even knowing the manufacturing process That's bold.
If Dad learns about it, he would be royally pissed by your attempts at stealing his secrets." She chuckled.